Directed To Testify
We've examined how devotion to our testimony will improve our witnessing and what we can do when we face adversity to our testimony. Today, we turn our attention to focused use of our testimony. How can we maximize the use of the most powerful witnessing tool God has given us, the story of how He personally saved us and who God is to us today? Find out below
Acts 2. Where it all began. Yes, the disciples had been following Christ for over 3 years at this point and Christ had been born more than 33 years prior. We can even say this promise existed right at the moment Adam and Eve walked out of the garden, some say even before the world was spoken into existence. However, while promises, visions and evidence existed long before the Day of Pentecost, none brought the promised hope of salvation into reality. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit on those in the upper room was the opening of flood gates to mankind. They would no longer have to roll back their sins. They could be washed away. They no longer had to relate to a somewhat distant God. They could be intimately connected to Him. They no longer had to rely on the priesthood or another person to lead them to grace and mercy. They had direct access to not only God, but the promise of salvation.
This fulfilled promise was the culmination of the faithful persistence of the followers of God who had followed Jesus for years and waited patiently with passionate persistence in the upper room for 10 days. Their faith and prayer led to God pouring Himself out into their lives and opening a new era for all of humanity. However, that era would never have gotten started were it not for one action by one man.
But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: (Acts 2:14)
In the previous few verses, the people of many nations were stunned at the utterances that came out of the mouths of these simple Jews from Galilee. They spoke with multiple tongues as the Spirit gave them the utterance. In a way, they were testifying to the people around them through this miraculous praise that flowed from their mouths. However, the people were not completely convinced. They thought it was just a bunch of drunk people mumbling and barely piecing together coherent words in their language. In their response, we learn an important lesson.
The miraculous will draw people to us. However, it will not guarantee that they are drawn to God.
The people that day were more than willing to dismiss the miraculous just as people dismiss it today. "You were healed of cancer? Probably a misdiagnosis, the power of positive thinking or some freak accident in your favor." These dismissals do not diminish the power of the miraculous. As we've shown in a previous lesson in this series, there are people who accept the miraculous and the witness we have to share as a result of it. However, the miraculous does not always guarantee a conversion. We must be prepared to do what Peter did beyond the scripture we quoted earlier.
Peter began weaving a story that explained why the people that day were speaking in tongues. There was a man named Jesus who lived and died and lives again. He was not an ordinary man. He was God robed in flesh, prophesied of by great men of God and the outpouring of the Spirit that had occurred was prophesied as well. Peter wove the story of Jesus perfectly with scriptures of old and the personal accounts of the God man. This teaches us something about our own personal testimony.
It's not all about us.
Peter's focus was not on himself here. While testimony does involve our personal relationship with Jesus and that does come across in this message by Peter, we learn here that it's not about us. It's about Jesus. Peter focused purely on Christ and how the scriptures and prophets of old heralded him. He then backed up those prophetic scriptures with evidence that he had from a first account. You see, Peter is wrapped up in this testimony. He just wisely steps to the outer banks of the spotlight to let Christ shine.
If we want to illuminate people to the idea of Christ and what He can do in their lives, we must be willing to get out of the way of Jesus and let him shine through. We can do this by talking about what Christ has done, both in scripture and in our own accounts. What have we read about that we have then seen fulfilled in our own times. Have we seen the outpouring of God's Spirit like in Acts 2? Have we seen the miraculous happen like in Acts 3? Have we witnessed earthshaking moments that saw people change their whole perspective on life in Acts 4? These are just a few examples of the powerful move of God in the Spirit in the Bible that can easily be seen today. If we can show how scripture is still alive and relevant today like Peter did in Acts 2, we'll have people prepared and ready to receive God's Spirit.
Remember, up until that day, most Jews had not seen a scripture fulfilled for over 400 years. The ones who stood before Peter and the followers of Christ were not there when Christ walked on the earth. They didn't have the benefit that those 120 had. It is for this same reason we must be willing to share both scripture and personal accounts of God to anyone who is in a position to receive that testimony (Acts 2:37-42).
But wait! How do I get those people in position?
Ah! The million dollar question. We've talked about how to be a witness for nearly a month, but how do we get the audience to do so? How do we get eyes and ears on us to testify in faith of the promise of Christ? Well, the disciples were in faith and prayer waiting for the outpouring of God, but there was another purpose:
But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. (Acts 1:8)
Those are the last words Jesus uttered before he ascended in heaven. As a result, they clearly have a great deal of importance, not only to those who heard them that day, but to us today as well. When we faithfully and prayerfully prepare ourselves and our testimony, God will honor our efforts and pour Himself onto our lives. However he will also draw the crowd to us (Acts 2:6). That's right. When we purpose in our hearts to follow after God and make ourselves available to be witnesses for His cause, he will draw people to us.
They are already there. They are the servers at our restaurants and baristas at our favorite coffee shop. They are the patrons and employees at our local stores. They are our coworkers and clients. They are our friends and family and even our enemies. They are the people we see every day and the ones we will only see once. The question is not will we see them, though. It's what action will we take when we do. Will we move among them in silence like before, or will we, now that the blinders have been removed, be like Peter and stand up and testify of the greatness of God both past and present?
Chris Farris is the author of The Way, a manual detailing how to implement the Beatitudes into your life. He review events and other media and offers other insights into writing and working for the Kingdom of God.